Cats and dogs aren’t known for sharing a lot of similar interests. Dogs will eat almost anything you put in front of them. Cats are much pickier. Dogs love to go for walks. Cats ... not so much. Dogs will try to please their owners. Cats usually couldn’t care less. Cats and dogs respond to different stimuli.
Prospective homeowners can be as different as dogs and cats when it comes to what they want, what’s important to them and what they’ll respond to. That’s why generic marketing messages and images are often ineffective. So what are some of those differentiators?
Some prospective buyers are completely driven by price. There’s no way around that. In some cases, it’s a matter of simply not being able to afford more. It’s pointless to try to persuade someone to spend $500,000 for a home when their realistic budget is around $250,000. It’s a waste of your time and theirs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, talking about low price to someone who wants a completely custom built home (and has the budget for it) will drive them away. By the way, it’s OK to talk about price (in general terms) in your marketing material.
Some home buyers are very design-driven. They want a home that matches their lifestyle. They’re looking for something that will reflect their personality and will make being at home convenient and comfortable. Most of these types of homeowners are also aware that it’s going to cost them something extra. But there are others who are simply looking for a place to live. Thoughtful design and added build-ins are lost on them. They just don’t care much about those things—and won’t want to pay for them.
Most home buyers care about the neighborhood they will be living in. In fact, the 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers claims that the quality of a neighborhood is an important factor for 59 percent of buyers. But it’s important to understand what buyers mean by quality. Is it seclusion? Is it the schools? Is it ease of access to events and shopping? When you talk about the neighborhood in which you’re building, you need to highlight the features that are important to the homeowners who will live there.
When you reach out to prospective buyers (on your website, for example), you want to be sure you understand what’s important to them and that you shape your messaging to address those issues. Make sure you answer the questions and concerns they have. This is what’s known as content marketing—using the information that consumers want to pull customers into your website.
Quality and Finish
For some home buyers, the overall quality of the home is a huge factor. They’re looking for quality design, quality materials and quality craftsmanship. And they know exactly where to look.
This is where your visuals come into play. If you are appealing to a higher-end audience, your images need to show them what they want to see. Your prospects need to see how superior the design is and how it affects the feel and function of the home. Poor photography can make a great home look uninviting or even shoddy. And while people do care about the exterior, most home buyers primarily want to know how the inside will look—because that’s where they’ll spend the majority of their time. If you’re going to talk about the spaciousness of the great room and the ease of access, make sure your pictures show that. If you stress quality in your building, your website needs to exude quality as well. And—just like the homes you build—it needs to be functional so that prospects can easily move from one section to the next.
Cats and dogs are different. Both can make great pets, but some prefer cats to dogs and vice versa. Home buyers are a bit like that as well; they have different tastes and desires. Make sure you know who your audience is and that your messaging and images reflect what’s important to them.